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Spaceship Earth Lab

The Buckminster Fuller Institute

Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

Spaceship Earth Lab

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The Spaceship Earth Lab is a weekend workshop (details) exploring how experiential technologies can expand and transform perceptions of our home planet. The workshop brings together polymaths, expert generalists, and comprehensivists to develop thinking tools for enacting whole systems understandings of planetary interactions. Participants will explore new ways of communicating phenomena across spatial, temporal, and spectral scales - as well as the principles and relationships that connect them. 

This initial workshop has a limited number of spaces available. If you'd like to attend, see the application details.

“We begin by eschewing the role of specialists who deal only in parts. Becoming deliberately expansive instead of contractive, we ask, ‘How do we think in terms of wholes?’ If it is true that the bigger the thinking becomes the more lastingly effective it is, we must ask, ‘How big can we think?’” 

R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1968)

Call for Participation and Contribution

In 1968, Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth challenged humanity to re-imagine our home planet. Fuller posed the question How big can we think? - insisting on the need to develop more effective techniques to think in whole systems by transcending disciplinary silos. To accomplish this, he proposed developing computing and display technologies to visualize and simulate planetary interactions to better understand Earth's metabolism and regenerative cycles.

Half a century later, the Buckminster Fuller Institute is partnering with Gray Area Foundation for the Arts to host a series of labs examining Fuller’s provocations within a contemporary context. This inaugural lab will examine the contemporary relevance of Operating Manual.

The goals of this lab are to:

  • Explore how experiential technologies (integrating data visualizations, immersive displays, virtual and augmented reality, remote sensing imagery, machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc) can expand and transform understanding of humanity’s relationship to Spaceship Earth’s interconnected systems.

  • Identify, collaborate on, and prototype projects (examples) to be developed through an ongoing series of Spaceship Earth Labs.

  • Cultivate an active community of practitioners creating planetary thinking tools.

  • Refine the format and content for a series of Spaceship Earth Labs beginning in 2018.

We invite wayward polymaths (working across the fields of art, design, science, engineering, etc) currently developing these planetary thinking tools that are seeking collaborations and support. Participants are encouraged to present their work and ideas in short presentations or demos, though this is not a requirement.

Organizers: Buckminster Fuller Institute, Gray Area, and Galactic Tick Day

Location: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts / 2665 Mission St, San Francisco

Dates: 30 September (10am-6pm) & 1 October 2017 (1pm-6pm)

Deadline for application: 15 September 2017

Cost: A donation of $25 per participant is requested. Please inquire about sponsorships for this and future events.

Contact: / lab at

Have questions about Spaceship Earth Lab? Contact The Buckminster Fuller Institute

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When & Where

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
2665 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

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The Buckminster Fuller Institute

Building on the profoundly relevant legacy of 20th century inventor, architect and global systems visionary, R. Buckminster Fuller, the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is dedicated to catalyzing transformative solutions to complex global problems through design thinking education.

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